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Environmental guidance statement

We recognise that Classics is a discipline which relies upon dialogue, and that in the 21st century it is an international enterprise bringing Classicists into dialogue from across the globe. It is important for the success of Classics in the U.K. that Academics working in the field should be willing to participate fully. And it can be important for junior Classicists to travel so as to establish an international profile. But we also recognise that in the 21st century everyone has a part to play in avoiding irreversible climate change through the reduction of global emissions. Evidently significant progress will only be made if there is large-scale government backed action. But by taking a stand and doing what we can as individuals and organisations, we can help towards making a difference to government’s making a priority of the environment.

As academics tasked with educating the next generation, we believe it is incumbent upon us to set an example of responsible environmental travel. We therefore propose that Classicists working in the U.K. and organisers of Classics events should agree to a policy of responsible environmental travel, especially with respect to air travel as a notably energy intense form of consumption. In this spirit, and acknowledging the career constraints we are all under with respect to teaching as well as research, we propose the following guidelines for travelling for academic purpose. When attending or organizing a Classics event to consider whether it is a practical option to do any of the following:

  • To avoid air and single occupant car travel where it is feasible to do so in favour of rail and coach travel.
  • To avoid short stay, single purpose high emissions travel where feasible.
  • To maximise the academic value of high emissions travel (where unavoidable) by taking longer and multiple purpose trips (where feasible).
  • To consider using a carbon offsetting scheme where air travel is unavoidable.
  • To make use of video-conferencing, video-chat etc. technology where feasible, and actively to encourage institutions to ensure that there’s provision for its use.
  • To facilitate and support others who wish to make use of such technology to avoid making high-emissions travel.
  • To facilitate and support others who wish to make use of lower emissions form of travel.

If these guidelines are adopted, our events will become more inclusive of Classicists with disabilities, and with caring responsibilities, for whom participation can be difficult where long distance travel is involved. Events will also be more cost effective, benefiting those who don't have large travel budgets.

We will also endeavour to ensure that catering for conferences is single use plastic free (no cling film, plastic cups, plates or glasses); recycling facilities are clearly indicated; plastic bags and plastic folders will be avoided; and, handouts to be circulated electronically where practicable.

 

The University of Cambridge

This document sits within the context of the University of Cambridge’s own policy, on which see:

https://www.environment.admin.cam.ac.uk/about-us, which states that:

The University is committed to continual environmental improvement, including through a 'science based target' to reduce its energy-related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048, with a steep 75% decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030.

The issue of academic travel, in particular, has been receiving increasing attention: https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/highflying

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